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For those who imagine Oscar Hammerstein's lyrics are strictly designed for nuns chirping about larks learning to pray, check out Marlene Ver Planck's Baccarat chiseling of his "All in Fun, as set to Jerome Kern's music, from this reissued 1999 session. The great lyricist could scarcely have a better interpreter to reveal the depth of feeling in this bittersweet urban love gem. Savor how she touches down lightly on "We are seen around New York...just a fellow and a girl and our feet have left the ground a bit, presaging a shoulder-shrug admission of love.
Among Ver Planck's entrancing skills is the deft clarity with which she expresses these lyrics while breezily nailing their emotional irony. In this instance there's dry martini accompaniment by George Shearing's keyboard. He also pairs with her on another beauty, "You Must Believe In Spring. And then there's Hank Jones' piquant piano throughout almost all of the rest of the set. Jones is a special delight with a playfully noodling intro to Mercer and Carmichael's delightful "How Little We Know in which Ver Planck kittenishly muses on "maybe it happens this way, maybe we really belong together, before launching into one of her brief, deliciously scatty trills.
Pianist Marian McPartland joins her with her own and McGlohon's "Willow Creek, a little-known beauty. Whether it's polishing that pearl or with a bouquet of American songbook nonpareils, charmer Ver Planck delivers it all with a total command of the jazz idiom in a expressive soprano that's filled with boundless warmth, fun and optimism.
Track Listing: Fools Fall In Love; Can't We Be Friends?; I'm Travelin' Light; Call Me Irresponsible; Soul Eyes; I Can Hardly Wait; All In Fun; You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me; The Day I Found You; Dance With Me; You Must Believe In Spring; Fun To Be Fooled; Willow Creek; There's Never Been A Day; How Little We Know; We'll Be Together Again; Love Won't Let You Get Away; My Impetuous Heart.
Personnel: Marlene Ver Planck: vocals; Hank Jones, George Shearing, Marian McPartland: piano; Gary Mazzaroppi: bass; Joe Cocuzzo: drums.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.